Crawford International Defence Review

The Defence Review Podcast – How the Ukrainians will win the war

The Ukraine War – One year on!

Putin’s latest speech – Lt Col Stuart Crawford’s response

‘Planes For Ukraine

Air superiority is a prerequisite for successful operations by manoeuvring armoured formations; without it they are very vulnerable to attack from above. So to go on the offensive they need better, more modern aircraft that their enemy, and they need them quickly and in numbers.

Why the USA is reluctant to countenance its issue to Ukraine is beyond me, for it must already be well-known to Russia and it is no longer the NATO aircraft of choice anyway, having been largely superseded by more modern and sophisticated aircraft. And as for fear of escalation, well, the war is pretty escalated already, isn’t it?

Ukraine Spring Offensives

Despite my earlier predictions that the Ukrainians might be the first out of the traps, it now looks as if the Russians may well attack first. In fact according to some observers they have started already with an upsurge of attacks in the Donbas. It may be that instead of a sudden explosion in offensive operations their Spring offensives will be more of a ramping up of operations that have been underway for some time.

That’s the primary reason why Zelensky’s tour of European capitals took place last week. His pleas for additional long range precision artillery and missile systems, plus Ukraine’s need for modern fast jet fighter aircraft, is precisely so they can contemplate taking the offensive against their invaders. Without the means to achieve at least local air superiority their task becomes much more difficult.

Neunundneunzig Luftballons

The discovery of a high-flying Chinese observation balloon over the USA caused a few red faces in Washington last week. Eventually it was shot down by a F-22 Raptor fighter into the Atlantic off the coast of Carolina, where recovery operations are underway, but to get there it obviously transited across the whole of the continental USA.

What’s going on here? Well, either the appropriate authorities in the USA, Canada, and elsewhere have hitherto been unaware of these transgressions, which would be worrying, or that they have known all along but have allowed them to continue for some other purposes. Perhaps we will find out which it is in due course.

Whilst the world’s attention has been focussed on Ukraine there are other simmering tensions elsewhere, no more so in the South Atlantic. There are rumours that China has reached agreement with Argentina to establish a PLA naval base in the city of Ushuaia, in the province of Tierra del Fuego, which in effect would give China access to Antarctica.

There has been much rejoicing mixed with a sense of relief that the USA and Germany have agreed to send main battle tanks (MBTs) to Ukraine. Although the numbers are relatively small – about 14 Leopards from the Germans initially with the promise of more to come, plus 31 M1 Abrams from the USA – together with the 14 Challenger 2s already promised by the UK, they will be a welcome addition to Ukraine’s tank fleet. The hope is, of course, that other countries will now feel enabled to join in. Whether the USA will mirror Germany’s decision to send Leopard 2 tanks and allow the transfer of F-16s and ATACMS to Ukraine remains to be seen, but they would undoubtedly help bolster UkrAF capabilities ahead of the expected spring offensive.

Again, with the focus of most western commentators on Ukraine, less attention is being paid to the ongoing tensions between neighbouring Central African countries Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Historical antagonisms between the two states flared up again a year ago in March 2022 and have been simmering since.

In the Congo, the rebel group The March 23 Movement M23 or sometimes the Congolese Revolutionary Army), consisting mainly of ethic Tutsis, has been fighting the Congolese government for some time in the province of North Kivu. Although fighting has now died down, a UN investigation subsequently reported that M23 was probably organised and led by Rwanda.

Ukraine is doing the fighting for us. Chancellor Scholz needs to grow a pair and get on with it

Philosophically, I don’t think we can pretend any more that the Russo-Ukraine conflict is anything other than a proxy war between NATO and Russia. If the west does not do everything in its power to assist Ukraine to win and expel Russian troops from its territory then who knows where Putin’s aggression may take us next. Poland? The Baltics

Russia to deploy new Battle Tank in Ukraine War

The gun is a version of the Russian 125 mm gun seen on previous vehicles and can fire both armoured piercing ammunition and guided anti-tank missiles, and the two machine guns are also in remotely controlled mini turrets. With a top speed of around fifty-five miles per hour and a range of approximately 500 kilometres, it could well prove to be a formidable opponent to NATO-standard western tanks.

Civilians & Ministers killed in Kyiv Helicopter Crash in Kyiv

Ukraine suffered a body blow this week when a civilian helicopter on its way to the front line near Bakhmut crashed in the outskirts of Kyiv, apparently killing all nine on board and others on the ground. Amongst the dead were Ukranian Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky, his deputy, and several colleagues. Others were killed on the ground, including children from a nearby kindergarten.

Britain sending Challenger 2 Tanks – is there more than meets the eye? Defence Budget Uplift In Doubt

The promise to send fourteen Challenger 2 tanks is, as I have written elsewhere, more political and symbolic than militarily useful. They are unlike anything other tank the Ukrainians have or are likely to have and will require yet another different logistic and supplies set up. Famously, or infamously if you prefer, the Challenger’s 120 mm rifled gun using different ammunition to the rest of NATO, to mention but one issue.

Have you signed up for the Defence Review Podcast?  

Tank CommanderLt Col Stuart Crawford’s latest book Tank Commander (Hardback) is available now

To receive a copy of The UK Defence Review to your mailbox – please provide your details here.



  • Ukraine War: Rapid Advances in the Donbas
  • HRH Queen’s Funeral is a military affair
  • Russia Buys Weapons Abroad


  • Prime Minister Truss commits to additional £147 billion Defence spend over next 8 years
  • Ukraine “Counter-Offensive”
  • In the Navy


w/c 29th August 2022


w/c 22nd August 2022


w/c 15th August 2022


w/c 8th August 2022


w/e 7th August 2022


w/e 29th July 2022


%d bloggers like this: